The Scottish Rite And Community Partnerships
James B. Wilkinson, 33, P.G.M. of Virginia
When we first opened the Childhood Language Center at Richmond, the task seemed impossible. To employ a full-time staff and support the expense of a new building to house our center appeared unattainable aspirations. Yet with study, hard work and faith, we have accomplished these goals. Our beautiful building next to the Richmond Scottish Rite Temple is fully paid for and is a real asset to our community, accepted and appreciated by all. There is always the question of money. It costs approximately a quarter million dollars each year to operate this glorious undertaking. This is a lot of money for a Valley of our size (3,700 members), but we had faith that it could be done. Thus far, when it appeared we would have to close our doors because of lack of funds, something happened and money came in, relieving the situation.
The key element to our success, I believe, is the partnership our Valley has developed with other groups and businesses in our community. In particular, our center's administrator, Page Hardage, has done an outstanding job in helping our members bring about a coalition of the Scottish Rite and various other groups.
Many civic organizations, upon hearing of our programs, have made large contributions. Last year, the Rotary Club of Richmond, for example, donated $15,000 to buy the equipment necessary to complete the audio diagnosis section of our center.
Our speech pathologist can now give a full-range examination of the center's clients to ascertain their problems and to find and recommend appropriate solutions. This new equipment was necessary to make the center a complete unit.
The Richmond Rotary Club has been properly recognized for this contribution, and, in addition, we had a luncheon for the officers of the Club which was attended by a large number of Scottish Rite Brethren. Following the luncheon, officers of Rotary International observed the improvements their association's generous contribution had made to our facility.
Then, at a weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Richmond, the club's president, Willard Andrews, formally presented the club's check to Richard Tyler McGrath, 32, K.C.C.H., President of the Childhood Language Center. Similarly, many other associations and businesses in Richmond have contributed to our efforts. Richard and Caroline T. Gwathmey Memorial Trust, Ronald McDonald Children's Charities, the H.E.L.P. Club of Richmond, V.F.W. Post 9808, Memorial Foundation for Children, Eastern Henrico Ruritan Club, Circus Saints & Sinners, and the Imperial Plaza Bingo Group -- each made a substantial donation.
We are truly thankful for this community involvement. Because of it, we have had the great joy of receiving complimentary letters from parents and grandparents thanking us for helping their children and grandchildren. We have learned that the Scottish Rite, in cooperation with the community, can make a real difference in the lives of many people and build a better tomorrow for all.
Reach out to your community leaders, businesses, and organizations. Tell them of our Rite's great philanthropic mission. I guarantee the results will be phenomenal!